Following a management shake-up of the Pro Cross-Country Tour after its first season, USA Cycling has beefed up the national series schedule for 2010.
The most notable addition to the Pro XCT is the Mellow Johnny’s Classic, to be held Memorial Day weekend on Lance Armstrong’s Texas ranch. Other races now on the Pro XCT roster are the Sea Otter Classic and Fontana, both early season events in California.
The Pro XCT calendar now consists of six UCI-sanctioned events throughout the United States, allowing racers to accumulate UCI-ranking points and guaranteed prize purses.
“The 2010 Pro XCT will provide one of the best calendars of quality UCI mountain bike races we’ve had in many years,” said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson.
USAC has been retooling the Pro XCT calendar after the management company, US Cup, that ran the series in 2009 split to start its own series for 2010 — the US Cup Triple Crown All Mountain Series. Other than the Fontana race, the US Cup events will not be UCI sanctioned. Instead, the president of the US Cup, Scott Tedro, is offering larger and deeper pro purses over the course of the season.
The addition of the Mellow Johnny’s Classic to the Pro XCT calendar, set for May 29, came about quickly, as the inaugural running of the race occurred in November after the first Pro XCT season. The race is held on Armstrong’s 450-acre ranch about 45 minutes outside Austin, Texas.
Unlike races that are not sanctioned by the UCI, points earned at sanctioned events help the United States qualify for mountain biking start spots at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The points also determine the start order at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, which will be at Mont Ste Anne outside Quebec in September. The men’s and women’s overall Pro XCT champions will also automatically qualify a spot on the U.S. squad for the worlds.